Today we’re going to focus on two new microphones from sE Electronics which, in fact, mark the entrance of this company into the sector of transducers for live sound and music. V7 and V3 are two dynamic microphones designed and built for on-stage applications and, more generally speaking, for all types of live events, as well as for use in regular studios.
V7 and V3 are strong and well made microphones, with an external housing and grille made from solid and robust metal. From an aesthetics point of view, their main difference is the colour of the body and protection grille. A simple but also ingenious feature is the details of the bevelling in the circle in the centre of the grille, which guarantees stability of the mic when it is placed on a table, eliminating the possibility of it rolling around dangerously (hands up those who have had this experience …). Packaging is a well-designed and manufactured box, also containing a number of accessories which, to tell the truth, do not have the same level of quality in construction as the mic. The mic-holder is rather rigid, and the casing is quite light , the anti-wind filter is made of very fine sponge con and, above all, subject to tearing during installation. However, these are details that are not so important if we consider the really affordable price of this product.
Even though these two products are very similar in appearance, there have several different internal features, both producing sound results during our tests that well exceeded what we expected after reading the technical information supplied by sE Electronics. The handbook is, in any case, the same for both products, giving the possibility of a preliminary comparison between the two microphones.
sE Electronics V3
Voice Coil: Copper
Directional Pattern: Cardioid
Frequency range: 50 Hz – 16 kHz
Impedance: 600 Ohms
Sensitivity: 2.5 mV/Pa (-52 dBV)
Weight: 295 g / 10.4 oz
sE Electronics V7
Voice Coil: Alluminium
Directional Pattern: Supercardioid
Frequency range: 40 Hz – 19 kHz
Impedance: 300 Ohms
Sensitivity: 2.0 mV/Pa (-54 dBV)
Weight: 305 g / 10.8 oz
Looking at the technical data, we can immediately see the different materials used for the coils of the two transducers, able to produce a considerable difference in the frequency response curves. The V7 is far more linear in the medium-high frequencies, with a more evident inclination in the bass range. Another important difference regards the return pattern, where the V3 has a cardioid shape and the V7 a supercardioid shape. Last but not least, the different sensitivity values.
We tested the two products in different situations, from regular studios to rehearsal rooms, up to a true live event. The first approach obviously took place in the studio, where the different mic combinations were tested. V7 is a mic with a preproduction quite faithful to the original instrument. Not too delicate, but with an extensive and well balanced return. V3, on the other hand, is really brilliant and, above all, has a pressure sensitivity that almost makes it the same as a condenser mic. It is less subject to the problems of proximity effect, but with more of a tendency to internal distortion if applied to “energetic” sound sources.
Moving inside one of the rehearsal rooms I had the chance to carry out the first live test in quite difficult conditions, since the size of the room, also considering the overall sound pressure emitted by the band there at the time, was particularly testing on the microphones. V3 is highly sensitive to feedback and returns, while V7 is certainly more immune to these kinds of problems and, therefore, easier to manage – especially in smaller and compressed environments. Last but not least, even though a singer should never do this, V3 is very sensitive to feedback caused by holding the mic by the grille, while the V7 behaved very well in this type of situation.
Live tests confirmed the impressions received in the studios and in the rehearsal room: the V7 is to be preferred for its overall cleanliness, while the V3 is ideal for instruments with basic sound that is slightly “faded”; giving good results also on Hi-Hats and light percussion, satisfying musicians who would generally appreciate the solidity and quality of the two products.
Without a doubt, V7 and V3 can be positioned in a market sector dedicated to live microphones, alongside historical brands that are present on stages worldwide. Compared to direct competitors, the two mics often stood out for the quality of sound, construction and general operational feeling. V7 is maybe more manageable for those more complex situations, but V3 impressed us with regards to sound and sensitivity, demonstrating a performance that really adds value in the right situations. One could say that it has a very strong personality, one which actually makes it less flexible, but very effective in specific applications.
If we then speak about the highly affordable price, we can surely overlook some minor details which in fact do not effect the use of the products. These are two microphones therefore that are in line with the overall quality expressed by all products from sE Electronics, and which for sure can be included in any technical rider – at least those of high standard.
Diego Caratelli – main tester and live tester
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